While employees being made to work off the clock is a serious issue that needs to be addressed, one must be careful about how it is addressed. A plaintiff bringing a complaint of this sort may have a case for missed wages and for performing work-related tasks for which they were never paid, but filing allegations that their employer paid them less than the federally mandated minimum wage may not always be advisable, depending.
While some employees have managed to achieve settlements, or even court rulings in their favor when claiming missed wages, two recent wage and hour lawsuits against SkyWest Airlines have just been dismissed.
The class action lawsuits were filed by Andrea Hirst and Cheryl Tapp, both of whom worked for SkyWest from 2010 until 2015. They filed separate lawsuits against their former employee, alleging they had been paid less than minimum wage because of all the off-the-clock work they had allegedly performed without pay.
While SkyWest claims it pays each flight attendant no less than $17 per hour, that rate was allegedly only paid for the time flight attendants spent on the airplane with the cabin door closed. That meant they were not paid for any of the allegedly necessary tasks they performed before the cabin door was closed and after it was opened. These tasks included cleaning up after customers, clearing airport security, and reading and responding to emails with essential information regarding their upcoming flights. According to the lawsuits, when taking into account the extra hours flight attendants spent working for SkyWest, their wages allegedly fell below $7.25 per hour – the federal minimum wage an eligible, hourly worker can be paid while working in the United States. Continue reading